Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, though no country in the world has recognized its existence. Since then Somaliland has maintained peace and stability while laying the groundwork for democratic governance. But today Somaliland is at a perilous crossroads. The administration of President Dahir Riyale Kahin has repeatedly failed to hold key elections originally scheduled for mid-2008. The resulting crisis has laid bare the limits of what Somaliland has accomplished and now threatens its hard-won progress. Somaliland's government continues to rely on extralegal "security committees" to usurp the role of the courts and allow government officials to incarcerate criminal suspects, including children, without charge or trial. While heavy-handed acts of repression are rare, they are not unheard of, and low-level harassment of journalists, opposition officials and others is common. The president and his government frequently flout the laws and constitution, while the legislature and the courts do nothing to rein in such abuses of power. Human Rights Watch urges Somaliland's government to ensure that presidential elections are held as currently scheduled in September 2009. In the longer term, Somaliland's government should make a concerted effort to strengthen the rule of law and end human rights violations. Somaliland's international partners, whether they recognize Somaliland's independence or not, should use both pressure and assistance to help ensure that this happens.
"This report was researched and written by Chris Albin-Lackey"--Acknowledgements. "July 2009"--P. following t.p.
Bibliography, etc. Note
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